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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Monday, February 05, 2007
Tricounty DFA Update: Four Years, Meetup Reminder, Gore For Noble Prize, Warren County Alert, more
Hello Everyone;

In this update:

1. Meetup Reminder, Agenda
2. Al Gore Nominated For Noble Peace Prize
3. Alert On Important Warren County Supervisors Meeting
4. Video: The War Tapes
5. Army Deployment Expose
6. Florida Dumps Touchscreen Voting Machines
7. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

1. Meetup Reminder & Agenda

Just a reminder that this Wednesday, February 7th, we will be holding our monthly DFA meetup/link-up at 7pm at our usual location, the
Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls.

On the agenda this month will be reports on the demonstration in Washington, discussion of more actions, the War Tapes video DFA
National in Burlington is proposing, the Circular Letter on Global Climate Change and we may get around to a special video on windpower.

2. Al Gore Nominated For Noble Peace Prize

Great news came last week that Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on Global Climate Change. Clearly, no one deserves it more-- Gore has been working on this issue for 25 years and his behind the scenes work during the Clinton administration secured the Kyoto Accords. For more:

Governor Dean spoke on CNN on the Democrat's Senate Plan and Al Gore.

The IPPC came out this week with their along awaited report on Global Climate change. It is a breakthrough in recognition of this greatest long term problem for humanity.

As strong as the report may seem, it is being widely critized for being too weak-- political pressure to tone down its forecasts and predictions by, guess who? The Bush administration and China.

3. Alert On Important Warren County Supervisors Meeting

As many of us know, Kathy Sonnabend spends a lot of time following Warren County and Town of Queensbury issues. Kathy is alarmed by an extremely expensive county project and a meeting scheduled at 8am Wednesday morning-- a very odd time indeed for an important public meeting.

Kathy sends this message along and urges everyone possible to attend this meeting:

"Hi everyone,

Since the trash plant fiasco of the 1980’s, there has not been a more important time for the public to attend County meetings, ask tough questions, and demand high standards. We need as many of you as possible to attend a meeting at the Board of Supervisors room on the second floor of the Municipal Center at 8am on Wed., Feb. 7th.

Warren County is about to make a decision that will increase our property taxes for many years. The County proposes bonding $30,000,000 to build a needed Social Services building on County property at exit 20. This doubling of County debt does not require taxpayer approval, and Supervisors leading the project have followed a curious path.

Months ago, former County Supervisor Mike Barody ignored an alternative money-saving lease proposal from Rich Schermerhorn, not sharing it with the Facilities Committee or the County Treasurer, who should be advising on capital finance decisions. When Rich learned of escalating County project costs late in 2006, he directly approached the Committee and Treasurer Frank O’Keefe with his proposal to build on his property at Gurney Land and West Mountain. Rich has partnered with British American, which has built many attractive office buildings in the Albany area. This will be a quality building. Rich is a smart businessman and has a history of building at less cost than the County, so there is profit for him as well as savings for County taxpayers.

Frank has encouraged the Committee to give the proposal serious consideration and has brought in a well-regarded finance expert to assist in the lease vs. build analysis, but Committee Chair John Haskell has been uncooperative, throwing roadblocks and delaying release of necessary specifications. The first roadblock was to claim that a Siemens co-generation facility on the County property provides substantial energy savings over alternative proposals. Upon closer look, that co-generation facility built for the County nursing home is losing money, probably hundreds of thousands of dollars annually! Likewise, Hudson Valley Community College has not reaped the anticipated benefits from their Siemens co-generation project (Times Union 1/16/07).

When challenged at a Committee meeting last month, the co-generation roadblock was quickly removed (probably because they belatedly realized they have a problem with it), but questions about co-generation losses were dismissed with a vague comment about Medicaid reimbursement. Interesting… sounds like taxpayer dollars are still covering the losses. Once again, County officials involved in the co-generation project followed poor business practices, not consulting the County Treasurer on financial aspects, nor NYSERTA or NIMO on technical aspects.

It’s our money they are spending, and our needed social services they are dispensing. Your presence at the meeting on Feb. 7th will send the message to the Supervisors that we are watching and that they need to do a better job.

Regarding the fire training tower, we have learned nothing further officially. It seems that they are avoiding putting their plans in writing so that we can’t FOIL it. The latest word is Nick Caimano and Fred Champaign have taken us seriously and will vote against the ACC location, but Dan Stec, Bill Van Ness and Matt Sokol (who replaced Mike Barody) are supporting the ACC location. There does not seem to be a serious effort to explore alternative sites. We have to keep up the pressure.

I hope to see you on the 7th!


4. Video: The War Tapes

DFA National in Burlington is urging all local DFA groups to air a new video, The War Tapes sometime between the 9th and 28th of February. This powerful new video is unique: it was not made by professional video or filmmakers, instead it was shot by soldiers themselves. Accordingly, it is said to be the most intimate and realistic video ever made on Iraq.

We will discuss the exact time, place and date at our meeting Wednesday, but we need 15 people to RSVP in order to get a free copy for showing. Will you take the time today to click this link and RSVP? That will help us get started.

5. Army Deployment Expose

A related story appeared today in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Corners cut in rush to add troops: Shorter training time, lack of equipment hurt readiness, experts say"

According to the Chronicle, " Soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division had so little time between deployments to Iraq they had to cram more than a year's worth of training into four months. Some had only a few days to learn how to fire their new rifles before they deployed to Iraq -- for the third time -- last month. They had no access to the heavily armored vehicles they will be using in Iraq, so they trained on a handful of old military trucks instead. And some soldiers were assigned to the brigade so late that they had no time to train in the United States at all. Instead of the yearlong training recommended prior to deployment, they prepared for war during the two weeks they spent in Kuwait, en route to Anbar, Iraq's deadliest province."

A military disaster clearly is in the making. This is the must read of the week:

6. Florida Dumps Touchscreen Voting Machines

Another issue we may be working on this year (depending on what happens in Albany) is the purchase by local counties of new voting machines. There has been a major development: Florida is dumping its touch screen machines: Broward (Miami) County and Palm Beach county alone will throw 10,000 touch screen machines into the dumpster. They will all be replaced by optically scanned paper ballots.
This is probably the end of the line for touch screen machines.

7. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe's Friday Night Progressive film fest continues at 7:30pm with:

Feb 9 THE UNTOLD STORY OF EMMETT LOUIS TILL (2005) Keith A. Beauchamp 70 min.
In August 1955, Mamie Till-Mobely of Chicago sent her only child, 14-year old Emmett Louis Till, to visit relatives in the Mississippi Delta. Little did she know that 8-days later, Emmett would be abducted from his Great-Uncle's home, brutally beaten and murdered for one of the oldest Southern Taboos: addressing a white woman in public. The murderers were soon arrested but later acquitted of murder by an all-white, all-male jury. However, Emmett did not die in vain. His horrific, senseless death sparked media attention when his mother insisted on having an open casket funeral. Her decision was controversial but her reason was simple. She defended her decision by stating, "I want the world to see what they did to my son." Till's death sparked the Black Resistance of the South which later became known as the American Civil Rights Movement. Scholars and historians have studied the murder of Emmett Till ever since, and the case has even made its way through African-American folklore

Sorry some of these are brief: ay habe ah kuld.

See you all Wednesday!

Larry Dudley

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